Super Tuesday Sizzles as Biden Sweeps South, Sanders Wins in West

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Addressing a large crowd of supporters in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden said, “People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement." Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

By: AP

A resurgent Joe Biden swept to victory across the country on Tuesday, scoring primary wins in the upper Midwest and African American strongholds in the South, in a dramatic offensive against progressive rival Bernie Sanders, who was hoping to tap into delegate-rich Western states to maintain his lead in the Democratic presidential contest.

At the time of this writing, Biden has won Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Minnesota. After leading for most of the evening in Texas, Sanders lost his lead to Joe Biden in the Lone Star state and it appears that the former vice president has won there.

Biden credited Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar for helping him win her state through her endorsement of his candidacy after she dropped out of the race. He also thanked South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg for his endorsement as well.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declares victory on Tuesday night from his home state as he addresses supporters and suggests that he will ultimately win the Democratic nomination for the White House. Photo Credit: AP

Thus far, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who is running as a far-left progressive candidate has won his home state of Vermont as well as Colorado.

As to the delegate distribution, unlike previous presidential races it is not a “winner take all” situation but rather delegates will be distributed to all candidates who meet a 15% threshold.

Biden a Democrat, who spent decades in the US Senate representing the people of Delaware and then served as vice president under former President Barack Obama and Sanders, an Independent who served in the House of Representatives and currently in the US Senate representing his adopted state of Vermont are  lifelong politicians with starkly different visions for America’s future.  On this Tuesday, they were battling for delegates as 14 states and one U.S. territory held a series of high-stakes elections that marked the most significant day of voting in the party’s 2020 nomination fight.

The clash between Biden and Sanders, each leading coalitions of disparate demographics and political beliefs, peaked on a day that could determine whether the Democrats’ 2020 nomination fight will stretch all the way to the party’s July convention or be decided much sooner.

It was increasingly looking like a two-man race.

“People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement,” a fiery Biden charged in California.

Sanders swiped at Biden from a victory speech in Vermont: “You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old type of politics.”

He added: “One of us in this race led the opposition to the war in Iraq,” the Vermont senator declared. “You are looking at him. Another candidate voted for the war in Iraq.”

Mike Bloomberg’s sole victory was in the territory of American Samoa. The billionaire former New York mayor will reassess his campaign on Wednesday, according to a person close to his operation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

Elizabeth Warren had yet to post any early wins, and even in her home state of Massachusetts, she was locked in a three-way race with Biden and Sanders.

Biden racked up his victories despite being dramatically outspent by moderate rival Bloomberg, who poured more than $19 million into television advertising in Virginia. Biden, meanwhile, spent less than $200,000.

A key to Biden’s success: black voters. Biden won 60% of the black vote in Alabama, where African Americans made up more than half the Democratic electorate. Bloomberg earned 25%, and Sanders won about 10% of African American votes, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate.

The Democratic race has shifted dramatically over the past three days as Biden capitalized on his commanding South Carolina victory to persuade anxious establishment allies to rally behind his campaign.

Biden’s win in South Carolina, his first in the 2020 election season, rescued his campaign from the brink after three consecutive weak finishes last month.

Sanders, meanwhile, was predicting victory in California, the day’s largest delegate prize. The state, like delegate-rich Texas, plays to his strengths, given its significant factions of liberal whites, large urban areas with younger voters and strong Latino populations.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg did not rack up any victories on Super Tuesday, but he did have a respectable showing in California where he came in second, right under Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Photo Credit: Getty Images

In Biden and Sanders, Democrats have a stark choice in what kind of candidate they want to run against President Donald Trump in November.

Sanders, 78, is a democratic socialist who relies on an energized coalition of his party’s far-left flank that embraces his decades long fight to transform the nation’s political and economic systems. Biden is a 77-year-old lifelong leader of his party’s Washington establishment who emphasizes a more pragmatic approach to core policy issues like health care and climate change.

On foreign policy, Sanders has generated acrimony over his hostile positions on Israel and his embrace of such controversial legislators as Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, New York City congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Muslim activist Linda Sarsour, among others.

Across the Super Tuesday states there were early questions about Sanders’ claims that he is growing his support from his 2016 bid.

Biden bested him in Oklahoma, though Sanders won the state against Hillary Clinton four years ago. And in Virginia, where Democratic turnout surpassed 2016 by more than 500,000 votes, Sanders’ vote share dropped significantly.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg was trying to look beyond the primary to the November election against Trump, who racked up easy victories in lightly contested Republican primaries across the country.

“We have the resources to beat Trump in swing states that Democrats lost in 2016,” he said Tuesday night while campaigning in Florida.

Warren was also fighting to be optimistic.

Facing a roaring crowd in Michigan, she called on her supporters to ignore the political pundits and predictions as her advisers insist she’s willing to go all the way to a contested convention in July even if she doesn’t claim an outright victory anywhere.

“Here’s my advice: Cast a vote that will make you proud. Cast a vote from your heart,” Warren declared. She added: “You don’t get what you don’t fight for. I am in this fight.”

With votes still being counted across the country, The Associated Press has allocated 302 to Biden, 193 delegates to Sanders, 19 to Bloomberg, 17 to Warren and one for Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. The numbers are expected to shift dramatically throughout the night as new states, none bigger than California, report their numbers and as some candidates hover around the 15% vote threshold they must hit to earn delegates.

The ultimate nominee must ultimately claim 1,991 delegates, which is a majority of the 3,979 pledged delegates available this primary season. Political pundits and television news analysts have suggested that at this rate and with this system of delegate distribution, none of the leading candidates will reach the “magical” delegate number before this summer’s Democratic national convention.

In an exclusive report, AP indicated that many Democratic voters in Super Tuesday’s presidential primaries made up their minds just before casting a ballot — and Joe Biden appears to be benefiting from their indecision.

Late deciders in Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia broke for Biden, helping the former vice president win those states and capitalize on new momentum in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The indecision shows voters grappling with their choices and reluctant to throw away their votes in a race that is changing quickly. Biden’s big win in South Carolina on Saturday revived his struggling campaign and helped push three of his rivals toward the exit.

(Associated Press)

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